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News titles, 13-20/12/02 Contrary to appearances, this has really been quite a good week. The appearances have largely been determined by USUK's noisy, but oh so predictable, response to the Iraqi dossier on its weapons of mass destruction. The major complaint is that it contains little that is new. But since the essence of the Iraqi argument is that they don't have very much that is new, this is hardly surprising. Elements in the press have informed us that this was Iraq's last chance and they've just muffed it and so the countdown to war is beginning. The impression is reinforced by Britain rather belatedly filling its soldiers with what may turn out to be a Gulf War Syndrome cocktail of drugs and sending them off to the Gulf. But all that was happening anyway and since USUK has always insisted that it has the right to invade any time it wants nothing much has changed. The Iraqi government declaration hasn't given it anything it doesn't believe it already has. Most importantly, it hasn't given it the consent of the 'international community'. And in particular that part of the international community that has a land border with Iraq. It is by no means certain that even Kuwait has given permission to use its territory and the huge diplomatic effort that has been put into securing the consent of Turkey has so far failed (see 'Hegemon faces a harried week' in the Iraqi/US relations section below). At the same time it doesn't look as though the 'Opposition' conference in London has done much to make the problem of the apres Saddam any easier. It is in any case difficult to imagine how a conference that claims to represent all the Iraqi opposition but does not include the Iraqi Communist Party can be taken seriously. And how can the pro-Iranian Council for the Islamic Revolution represent the Shi'i population when, overwhelmingly, that population - through Arab solidarity, not through affection for Saddam - supported Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war? It may of course be that all this is just a matter of filling in the time while we wait for February, the US' preferred time for the war. Quite a feat keeping up the necessary tension of righteous indignation for all that time. If there is any truth in the teachings of holistic medicine they should all by now be suffering from severe problems of constipation. Meanwhile the Iraqi government side are looking comparatively relaxed and serene. And gaining in credibility throughout the world, especially, of course, the Arab world. And if they pull off the democratisation stunt they have in mind they may well (and it will be a quite remarkable political feat) secure the moral high ground. At present, it seems, they've found the right man for the job. The most important document this week is the long interview with Abd al-Jabbar al-Kubaysi sent to the list by Dirk Adriaensens. It really doesn't belong here at all. Its too long and doesn't come from a newspaper, but it should be circulated as widely as possible. I've given it a section to itself. It is a remarkable piece of coherent and disinterested political analysis. It indicates a possible way forward. It could even prove to be important in the event of a US victory, since it is impossible to believe that, after all they have undergone at the hands of USUK, the Iraqi people will accept a collaborationist government. If the confrontation over the future of Iraq were to be considered in purely intellectual terms then the main protagonists would probably have to be Kubaysi and Kanan Makiya, whose vision of a long US occupation aimed at creating an Iraq based on citizenship not on sectarian or racial identity seems to have been defeated at the London conference. The Iraqi government's turning to Kubaysi to form a patriotic opposition may well prove to be far too little far too late to save Iraq from a further round of devastation and massacre but the current direction of events gives us at least this much to hope for: that this Gulf War, unlike the last Gulf War, will constitute a devastating blow to the international credibility of the USA and Britain. And it that is the case then the suffering and remarkable courage of the Iraqi people will not have been wholly in vain. NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (1) IRAQI COLLABORATION/OPPOSITION * Key Exiles Agree U.S. Should Not Run Postwar Iraq * US cash squads 'buy' Iraqi tribes * Differences of Opinion Surface Between Khalilzad and Iraqi Opposition ['Khalilzad proposed that the Iraqi opposition introduce forty people for the coordination council and then the Americans select ten from amongst them ...'] * Saddam's foes share a history of tragedy [Stories of two exiles on margins of London conference] * U.S. Army to Train 1,000 Iraqi Exiles [From roster of names proposed by the INC.] * Hungary Agrees to Allow Military Training for Iraqi Exiles ['According to the Hungarian defense ministry, the Iraqis will be accompanied by about 2,000 U.S. military personnel. The ministry said that, at Hungary's insistence, no combat training will take place at the base.' It seems as if they will be allowed to carry the white man's baggage] * Iraqi exiles name panel to rule after Saddam falls INSPECTIONS PROCESS * Scientists Hold Key To Iraqi Arms Search [Washington Post account of some of the scientists involved in Iraq's weapons of mass destructrion programme, with a brief list of names. One of them is Abdul Nassir Hindawi. Another article I haven't given ('UN gives Saddam deadline to name weapons scientists', The Times, 16th December, www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-515419,00.html) says he tried to leave the country and is now in prison. But that isn't mentioned here.] * UN Teams Hit Access Snag [Locked doors at the Communicable Disease Control Center in Baghdad] * Analysis: Baring information on WMD carries risks [A feeling that if the US administration really KNOW Saddam has weapons then the time has come to share this knowledge. Includes the following interesting quote from the old war monger Kenneth Pollack: '"I certainly hope the administration has some smoking-gun evidence that they are holding back on all of us that will allow them to prove things beyond a shadow of a doubt," said Pollack, a former CIA and National Security Council analyst. "But I know that the body language from the administration suggests otherwise."'] * U.N. Inspectors Visit 4 Sites in Iraq [Al-Mutasim, al-Qa'qaa, al-Nasr company, Um-Al Maarek (again)] * UN unease at taking Iraq's scientists away * List of sites visited by U.N. weapons inspectors, Nov 27-16 Dec [My title - PB] * UN arms experts search academic facility in Iraq [One does rather feel that, under the circumstances, Iraq could have benn spared from having to have an 'Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering'] AND, IN NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (2) IRAQI DECLARATION * U.S. rejects Iraqi arms report [Richard Lugar, new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says the inspections 'are more of "a palliative for many countries who don't want to do anything. It's a time-consumer in a way."'] * Germany was 'key supplier' of Saddam supplier * Arms report names Western suppliers * Iraq: The countdown begins [Useful summary of the 'roadmap' from P.Escobar] * Syria to return sanitized Iraqi weapons declaration * Syria to boycott U.N. talks [Is this the first time a non-permanent member has refused to take up the humiliating role of a seat on the Security Council? With any luck it might start a trend ...] * Inspectors say gaps found in Iraqi weapons report [Blix seems to have given quite a detailed, useful, non-hysterical account of the shortcoming he found in the Iraqi dossier] * The 'gaps' in Iraq's dossier [Official list put out by the US government] * Pakistani scientist 'offered Saddam nuclear designs' [The Times claims to have obtained a copy of the Iraq declaration. Full version or 'sanitised'? And is this not something that is worthy of regarded as scandalous, showing that some member of the Sanhedrin is not to be trusted?] * Text of Colin Powell's remarks on Iraq [Powell's argument is surprisingly weak. Twice he immediately translates UNSCOM estimates of what Iraq might have produced into statements that they did produce it and have failed to account for it. He states as a fact that in the late 1990s Iraq produced mobile biological weapons laboratories. It seems very unlikely but if the US knew for certain that they did I think we would have heard more about it. And the aluminium tubes pop up again but these have surely already been admitted and explained. Despite all the efforts that have been made to shift the burden of proof on to the defence it remains fully and squarely with the prosecution. Who aren't yet putting up a very convincing show.] URL ONLY: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-518595,00.html * Iraqi lies will not be enough to trigger war by Richard Beeston The Times, 19th December ["You may hear the Americans use the word 'material breach' in the coming days, but it will probably be used only in a rhetorical sense," one Western diplomat at the UN said. "As far as the other 14 members of the Security Council are concerned, lying or making omissions from the declaration is not a trigger in itself, it is not a casus belli. The Americans know that as well as anyone ‹ they wrote the document."] POLICING THE BLOCKADE * US, British planes hit civilian sites in Iraq [near Al Kut, Qal'at Sukkar and Al Amarah, Wasset, Missan and Zi Qar provinces, in Southern zone, Saturday 14th December] * Coalition planes strike targets in Iraq [Near An Nasiriyah, Wasset, Missan and Zi Qar provinces, Sunday 15th December] * Western jets attack southern Iraq air defences [Dhi Qar province in South. Monday, 16th December] * U.S. Navy Says UAE Firm Smuggling Chemicals to Iraq [Some miserable little snitch from the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet works himself up into an impressive state of righteous indignation because a firm in the UAE is selling industrial alcohol and material for making paints to Iraq. Is there a term to express whatever is lower than whatever it is that is supposed to be at the bottom of the barrel?] * Iraq opens fire on US, UK warplanes: Baghdad [Tuesday, 17th December] * Western jets fire on southern Iraq air defences [Wednesday 18th December. Mobile radar station near al-Kut] * Western patrols choke off trade in illegal Iraq oil ['At some point over the last year, the United States and its allies quietly decided to ignore Iraq's sea border and drive their sanctions-busting patrols deep into Iraqi territory ... The change in enforcement tactics, which would probably be seen as illegal by some members of the U.N. Security Council, was never formally announced and has not been widely reported.'] AND, IN NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (3) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * US blocks Germany's bid to head key Security Council panel [The Iraqi sanctions panel, no less] * Bulgaria Arrests Iraqi on Arms Suspicion * Tunisia prevents a demonstration against the war on Iraq * Russia's vote at UN cost Iraq oil deal: firm * Iraq: purchase of diesel train locomotive from Chinese company * Nearly two-thirds of Japanese oppose US attack on Iraq: Poll * Iraq for enhancing trade with Pakistan * Mandela Slams U.S. for Diplomatic 'Piracy' * US [ie Richard Perle] warns Germany against voting 'no' [to strikes against Baghdad on the UN Security Council] * Vatican: Inspection in Iraq should cover Israel * Baghdad Orders 5,000 Volga Taxis From GAZ ['breathing new life into the No. 2 automaker's best-known brand, the company said Thursday'] URL ONLY: http://www.iht.com/articles/80778.html * Now France may join a U.S. attack by Joseph Fitchett International Herald Tribune, 19th December [Just a bunch of unnamed sources saying what the US want them to say] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Iraq Kurds Now Siding With United States [Extracts giving quotes, including one from C.Rowat ...] * Terrorist behind Amman killing 'in Kurdish Iraq' URL ONLY: http://newsobserver.com/24hour/world/story/680282p-5065842c.html * Iraqi Kurds fear humanitarian disaster from war by BORZOU DARAGAHI News & Observer, 18th December ['The United Nations considers anyone who enters northern Iraq without an Iraqi visa to be here illegally. The United Nations last year cut ties with international aid organizations whose workers entered via Syria without Iraqi visas.' If the law is an ass, what sort of creature is international law?] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS * Moussa: A[rab] L[eague] recognizes Kuwaiti bitterness, but Iraq is in danger * Misunderstanding highlights US-Kuwaiti tensions [Kuwaitis want US protection but otherwise have the same feelings about them as everyone else] * Saudi Arabia, Iraq restore phone lines * Syrian pipeline helps Iraq evade UN oil sanctions [Good for the Syrians. Ah, if only it were being done openly and as a matter of principle!] * Fuleihan inaugurates Iraqi trade exhibition [in Lebanon] * Iraqi leader sends 40 truckloads of fertilizer to Palestinian peasants * Baghdad puts out the welcome rug for banks [Iraq's second international banking conference] * Iraq, Iran agree on opening a border crossing for humanitarian stuffs * Jordan: human shields to protect the Iraqi establishments [Looking for 100,000 volunteers from Jordan to 'join the International human shields around the Iraqi establishments'] * Turkey ready to send 70,000 troops into Iraq * Yemen's president says America will lose anti-terror coalition in war on Iraq URL ONLY: http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/12/13/wbr.Qatar.foreign.minister/index.html * Exclusive talk with Qatar's foreign minister by Wolf Blitzer CNN, 13th December [How to throw the opportunity of an exclusive talk with Qatar's foreign minister away in three easy lessons] AND, IN NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (4) INSIDE IRAQ * Hussein's Obsession: An Empire of Mosques [New York Times effort to understand the philosophy behind the Mother of All Battles mosque in Baghdad] * Iraq renovates its shelters, but few want to use them [A brief account from The Times of what it was like to be in the al-Amariyah shelter on February 13, 1991] * The Lion, On His Den: an Interview with Iraqi Dissident Ghazwan Al-Mukhti * Iraq to have multiparty and opposition system [sez the chairman of the Iraqi national opposition coalition, Abdul Jabbar al-Kubeisi (see separate section below)] * Iraq's Shortage of Medicine May Grow More Severe [Washington Post reports on what the ban on products such as Cipro means in practice] * Inside the ice cream factory paralysed by import bans [Centrifuges it seems are also used in making ice cream. So Iraqis aren't allowed ice cream. Or paint: '"We don't make weapons here. We can't even make paint," said the managing director [of the Babylon paint factory], Khalil Mustafa. "Our speciality was making good things, paint that made things look refreshed and new again. Now it's over."] NEARLY INSIDE IRAQ * Iraqi exiles in Jordan fearful of regime change * Iraqis may not welcome invading U.S. troops as liberators [Another account of Iraqi exiles in Jordan] * Iraqis board buses for long journey home [from Lebanon. "It is better to die at home than to live in a cold country that has treated us as complete strangers."] KUBAYSI * Interview in Baghdad with Abd al-Jabbar al-Kubaysi, a leading member of the patriotic Iraqi opposition ['All of humanity will one day discover that they are indebted to the Iraqis for confronting American savagery. So we must cause the "dictatorship card" to fall from America's hand, the way we have made them drop the excuse of "mass destruction weapons".'] AND, IN NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (5) REMNANTS OF DECENCY * 2,000 protest war in Iraq, want proof [Interfaith demonstration in Chicago] * Music used as protest against sanctions * Students Stage Hunger Strike Over Iraq Policy [outside of the federal building in San Jose] IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Actor Sean Penn Visits Baghdad * Revisiting 'The real roots of anti-Americanism' [Extracts referring to apparently interesting group Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities and to "The real roots of Arab anti Americanism." by Barry Rubin, which argues that the problem with US policy is its been too pro-Arab] * Hegemon faces a harried week [Rather encouraging account of setbacks suffered by the New World Order over the past week. It claims Turkey turned down 'an aid package worth more than 20 billion dollars - twice the entire annual US foreign-aid budget - in exchange for full Turkish co-operation with Washington on a ground invasion of Iraq from Turkish soil' but might have been willing to reconsider had the US managed to secure a speedy entry into the European Union. But the US' efforts to pressure the EU on the matter had the opposite to the desired effect. All very satisfying ...] * Pentagon Begins Airing Propaganda Broadcasts to Iraq * Smoke Screen? A new lawsuit says cigarette smugglers had a friend in R.J. Reynolds [Iraq is a country reputedly addicted to tobacco and the sadistic Mme Albright wanted to cut off the supply. You'd have to be an idiot or an abject lackey of the 'International Community' not to recognise such a wonderful business opportunity] * Iraqi statement on actor Sean Penn's comments called inaccurate * Weapon of the Week: ['Only in the land of the free would a woman be given the opportunity to make the newest super-duper weapon‹the thermobaric bomb!' But in Iraq, so we are told, a woman, Rihab Taha, was given the perhaps even more exciting opportunity of making the newest super duper biological weapons. Who says Iraq isn't a free country?] * Bush's trusty new Mideast point man [Detailed account of career of Elliott Abrams, recently appointed as White House Middle East advisor. Not strictly to do with Iraq but its relevance seems obvious enough] * Powell underestimates anti-US anger [Jordanian journalist Fahed Fanek comments on Colin Powell's new program for the Middle East] * U.S. alleges ring sent cash to Iraq [Iraqis caught red-handed trying to help their starving an impoverished relatives in Iraq. But then again 'Even money sent in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to individuals living in Iraq indirectly aids Saddam Hussein's regime by easing the financial pressure brought to bear by U.N. sanctions.'] * Muslims in US urge Saddam to step down AND, IN NEWS, 13-20/12/02 (6) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq After D-Day: The Cordesman Memo [Account of Anthony Cordesman's apparently interesting document: "Planning for a Self-Inflicted Wound: US Policy to Shape a Post Saddam Iraq" Which says, in the words of the reviewer: 'Why get deeper into this mess? Let Saddam keep his security forces intact and butcher the Shiites. Offer protection to the Kurds and let the place stew under the weight of sanctions.' It is a plea against humanitarian intervention. But the humanitarianism is as much the target as the intervention. Actually as summarised here it all seems rather nonsensical. Part of the argument is that the oil industry is in a dreadful state. Doesn't he see that that's part of the attraction? A huge investment opportunity? With a resource which, once liberated from sanctions, could tranform the gloomy situation very quickly (which is why its so important that Mr Hussein isn't allowed to do it).] * Online Extra: Madeleine Albright on Democracy and Force [Madeleine Albright comes over as a moderate favouring mass starvation and disease over war. She thinks war could have unpredictable consequences: 'It strikes me that a war by the infidels in this area doesn't help the democratic process.'] * Most Favor Nuclear Option Against Iraq [Washington Post-ABC News poll. The Cup half full] * Poll: Most unconvinced on Iraq war [Los Angeles Times poll. The Cup half empty] * How two US factions plan not to lose the peace: Post-Saddam strategy [Conflict between the neo-cons and the state department establishment as reflected in a 'new study by a 25- member task force released here on Wednesday by the influential Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy'. The neo-cons want to assume the responsibilities of a real Empire. The 'realists' want to smash everything up then scuttle away as fast as they can. Given the choice my preference is for the neo-cons.] * 'Scorched Earth' Plans in Iraq Cited [So, when the US 'destroy his country's oil fields, electrical power plants, food storage sites and other facilities' it'll all be Mr Hussein's fault. This grotesque little bit of fiction, incidentally, was published very widely] URLs ONLY: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,860736,00.html * All reason is about to be gassed, poxed and nuked by Simon Tisdall The Guardian, 16th December [Attack on the hawks who will use the Iraq dossier as the pretext for war. A bit polemical for my liking.] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4096-2002Dec17.html * Projection on Fall Of Hussein Disputed by Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post, 18th December [Chief of the Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki, and the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James L. Jones say one should plan for the worst case scenario. So what else is new?] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Troops start countdown to war [The main substance of this article is that, unlike the US, the UK has made no or very little attempt to deploy troops in the area and some army people think it mightn't be a bad idea to start. But how can the dog go walkies before the master shows it the lead?] * British troops bound for Iraq conflict to be given suspect Gulf war syndrome drugs * CND loses bid to prove Iraq war illegal [Thus with one blow the only authority able to challenge international acts of any Permanent Security Council member is destroyed; and with it any possibility of giving any real moral credibility to the system of 'international law'] * Has Blair got the nerve to back down over Iraq? [The Scotsman naively affirms that 'in even meeting the Syrian leader, Mr Blair was defying his close ally, United States President George W Bush' ... But no. That is Britain's role: to do what the US thinks has to be done but can't for one reason or another do for itself. The general argument is that Mr Blair is getting cold feet over the prospect of war but is probably, and quite reasonably, more scared of Mr Bush than he is of the British Parliament and people] * Scots to spearhead Iraq force URL ONLY: http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/021214/2002121433.html * UK does flip-flop on UN resolution meaning regarding attacking Iraq Arabic News, 14th December [Arabic News account of Mike O'Brien's trip to Egypt and of the collection of predictable cliches which he uttered on that occasion.] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk